EXTENSION CORNER: Be patient with large farm equipment on rural roads

·2 min read
Farm vehicles are primarily designed for use in fields, so motorists should be careful if they encounter them on roadways.
Farm vehicles are primarily designed for use in fields, so motorists should be careful if they encounter them on roadways.

Farmers in our area are still harvesting corn and soybeans, with the cotton harvest still to come. Along with this exciting time of year comes an increase in farm equipment on roads in the rural parts of our county. Conventional vehicle drivers should be extra attentive to ensure that farmers can complete their harvest safely.

Large farm vehicles often need to use rural roads to travel from one field to another, and drivers may not encounter them very often and may not remember how to safely handle these situations. First, remember that farm vehicles are designed for work in the fields, so they may not move as fast as you would like. Your patience and slowing down when encountering farm vehicles can save lives.

Next, give farm vehicles a wide berth. These vehicles can be very wide and may not be able to pull onto the shoulder. These farm vehicles may have large blind spots as well, so they may not even be able to see you. The lights on agricultural equipment may not be the same as a passenger vehicle, so be mindful of where the equipment starts and stops.

Like large trucks, farm equipment sometimes must swing wide to the right to make a big left-hand turn, so be patient and don’t try to pass them quickly unless you’re sure that the way will be clear. Sometimes farm equipment may be pulling into a field or onto unmarked access, so give them a wide berth and drive defensively.

Last, tall crops like corn can make it hard to see around corners or at intersections, so an extra dose of caution is warranted. Be safe during the harvest season. You may be used to zipping down a quiet country road, so slow down and look around during harvest. Don’t forget planting season will be before you know it and these rules and reminders are helpful then too.

If you have additional questions about any Extension programs, reach out or stop by our office at 3200-A W. Meighan Blvd. in Gadsden, call us at 256-547-7936 or visit us on Facebook at https://bit.ly/3otwUdl or online at https://bit.ly/3yniPCx.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Everyone is welcome! Please let us know if you have accessibility needs.

Eric Wright is extension coordinator for the Etowah County Extension Office.

This article originally appeared on The Gadsden Times: Give farm vehicles a wide berth on the roads

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